ARVADA, Colo. (CBS4) – This week Seoul, South Korea, will welcome athletes from all over the world for competition in winter sports and a young lady from Arvada will be there.

CBS4’s Suzanne McCarroll met up with Amanda Douglass during her practice on the ice. It’s obvious Douglas is a talented skater.

“If you want to become an ice skater and you want to make your dreams come true, go for it,” Douglass said.

What’s less obvious are some of the challenges Douglass has had off the ice. Her mother said as a toddler she spent some time in a coma, and the following years brought more medical challenges.

“We almost lost her at age three, and then we almost lost her again at age 15,” her mother said.

Medication has helped control her seizures, but damaged her ability to learn and to reason.

“It’s hard for me to sometimes except it when I have frontal lobe brain damage and I can’t (reason) sometimes and it gets frustrating,” Douglass said.

But gliding on the ice and years in Colorado’s Special Olympics program have helped smooth the challenges of her disability.

“Disability does go out the door when I’m skating. It’s like I’ve never had a disability when I’m skating.”

Years ago her coach saw something special in Douglass and thought skating was a way for her to gracefully get beyond her limitations.

“It’s a freedom for them to be able to be out there on their own and being able to be like everybody else,” coach Bernie Krause said.

Those who watch Douglass say in many arenas she’s far beyond most everyone else.

“She’s like the best representative we could have for the U.S.A.,” Krause said.

Douglass is off to Korea to compete in the Special Olympics World Championships hoping for a gold medal. But she’s also comfortable and grateful for what skating has already given her.

“I still get nervous, I still get those butterflies in my stomach when it comes to competition,” Douglass said.

To her fan base, she deserves a gold medal for enduring a difficult journey with purpose and poise.

“She just is the love of my life,” her mother said. “She’s been an inspiration to us.”

LINK: Special Olympics PyeongChang 2013


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